Virginia Western’s general education learning outcomes, or core competencies, are designed to promote student learning that helps prepare students for life and work. Our general education learning outcomes are centered on six general education core competencies that are shared in common across the Virginia Community College System (VCCS).
Click each competency to learn more about it.
Civic Engagement: the ability to contribute to the civic life and well-being of local, national, and global communities as both a social responsibility and a life-long learning process.
A civically engaged student will:
- interact with community organization
- demonstrate social awareness
- identify and apply civic knowledge to their field
Critical Thinking: the ability to use information, ideas and arguments from relevant perspectives to make sense of complex issues and solve problems.
A competent critical thinker evaluates evidence carefully and applies reasoning to decide what to believe and how to act. A student who thinks critically can:
- identify and summarize issues
- identify key assumptions
- provide accurate evidence
- present logical conclusions
Professional Readiness: the ability to work well with others and display situationally and culturally appropriate demeanor and behavior.
A student that demonstrates professional readiness will exhibit the following characteristics:
- strong management skills
- consistent attendance
- strong interpersonal skills
- positive workplace demeanor
Quantitative Literacy: the ability to perform accurate calculations, interpret quantitative information, apply and analyze relevant numerical data, and use results to support conclusions.
A person who is quantitatively literate possesses the skills and knowledge necessary to apply the use of logic, numbers, and mathematics to deal effectively with common problems and issues. A person who is quantitatively literate can:
- perform accurate calculations
- interpret quantitative information
- analyze relevant numerical data
- use results to support conclusions
Scientific Literacy: the ability to apply the scientific method and related concepts and principles to make informed decisions and engage with issues related to the natural, physical, and social world.
A person who is competent in scientific literacy adheres to a self-correcting system of inquiry (the scientific methods) and relies on empirical evident to describe, understand, predict and control natural phenomena. A student is scientifically literate can:
- formulate a hypothesis
- collect data
- analyze data
- draw accurate conclusions based on data
Written Communication: the ability to develop, convey, and exchange ideas in writing, as appropriate to a given context and audience.
A competent written communicator can develop, convey, and exchange ideas in writing, as appropriate to a given context and audience. Students with strong written communication skills can:
- organize content in a logical order
- create a well-stated thesis
- create well-developed paragraphs supporting the thesis
- create a well-developed conclusion
- use proper grammar, spelling, and sentence structure
- use proper word choice
Assessing student progress using these core competencies helps Virginia Western know how well we are preparing our students. Assessment helps us monitor the success of our curriculum and educational support programs, and fosters ongoing efforts to improve programs and student learning.
Virginia Western’s general education learning outcomes assessment program is supported and reviewed by The State Council of Higher Education of Virginia (SCHEV), the Virginia Community College System (VCCS), and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Meeting and exceeding the high expectations of these agencies offers students, parents, employers, and legislators an assurance of the educational excellence provided by Virginia Western.
The following reports are in PDF format.
The General Education Competencies, defined by the VCCS, are Civic Engagement, Critical Thinking, Professional Readiness, Quantitative Literacy, Scientific Literacy and Written Communication. Two competencies are assessed each year according to the guideline below.